Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

'We left everything out there', says England manager Southgate

'We left everything out there', says England manager Southgate

Croatia will take on France in the final on Sunday.

Croatia will face France in the final of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow after scraping past England 2-1 in extra time on Wednesday.

"The players have to go through big matches and experiences to become a team that can win".

Croatia, having gone the distance in both of their previous two matches, were expected to tire once normal time was over. However, we showed again that we are not exhausted, we dominated the game physically, mentally, in all aspects.

The Three Lions managed their 1-0 lead for more than an hour of playing time.

Telesport's Juraj Vrdoljak compared Croatia's second-half comeback to an "adrenaline-driven man lifting a truck to save his child".

But he is yet to fully convince and win the trust of everyone, and is still susceptible to occasional errors, highlighted by his stray pass that allowed Russian Federation a chance to go clear on goal in the closing minutes of the quarter-final. Croatian fans were elated; English fans fumed, claiming the goal should've been disallowed because of a high kick.

Mario Mandzukic scores the extra-time victor in the 109th minute to break English hearts. In the 109th minute, Perisic struck again.

A late Croatia onslaught was unable to complete the turnaround in 90 minutes and England stepped things up again in extra-time, nearly retaking the lead when John Stones had a header cleared off the line by Vrsaljko in the 98th minute. Walker attempted to clear diving header but Perisic jumped and from behind raised his left boot over Walker's head to poke the ball past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from about 8 yards.

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It turned out to be the winning score.

English soccer fans have been fully on board during the run, and didn't bail on their club when the chips were down on Wednesday.

- England have now been eliminated in four of their five semi-finals at major tournaments, losing each of the last four in a row. But this English team won't be returning from Russian Federation with the proverbial tail between the legs.

Harry Kane squandered a clear-cut opportunity to double England's lead approaching half-time before Lingard wasted another great opportunity from the edge of the box. "It's been a fantastic journey".

The break refreshed the Croatians and they started the second half with greater energy and objective and, at that stage, Southgate missed the chance to make the change that would enable England to regain control of midfield. And a respect for manager Gareth Southgate that, according to at least one newspaper, knows no bounds.

Cars and vans drove through the streets with Croatian flags stretched tightly across their bonnets, honking their horns at each other as workers clocked out for the day early and headed home to watch the game.

Croatia could hardly believe it after Mario Mandzukic found the back of the net in extra time to defeat England in the Fifa World Cup semifinals.

It will be the underdog against a dynamic French team in Sunday's final. Until proved otherwise, the only label that fits is "winner".

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